Blog Posts

Beak of the Week – American Robin

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Family: Turdidae The American Robin is a large gray-brown songbird with warm, brick red underparts, darker head, and broken, white eye ring. Robins are the largest of North American thrushes and they offer a good chance to learn the shape of most thrushes. They have a […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – California Gull

California Gull (Larus californicus) Family: Laridae By Carrie Chapin, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician A California Gull, a rare visitor to southeastern Texas, was recently spotted at the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. Typically a western species, California Gulls breed in the northwest great plains and southcentral Canada. They are commonly found […]

Read More

A Birdy Holiday Gift Guide 2022

By Elaine Ross, Operations Administrator It is the gift-giving season again, and we are here to help you find those gifts for your friends and family! Our gift suggestions cover different interests, price points, and target ages. If you purchase any of our recommendations, post a picture on social media […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – American Avocet

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) Family: Recurvirostridae By Jon Piasecki, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician Known for its long, upturned bill, the American Avocet is a wading bird that is commonly seen foraging in wetlands, salt ponds, mudflats and occasionally rice fields. This species breeds in parts of the western and midwestern […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Family: Strigidae By Wyatt Egelhoff, Houston Audubon Conservation Specialist Perhaps one of the most recognizable owls, this terrestrial species is found throughout many of the open areas of the temperate and tropical Western Hemisphere. As its name suggests, this species spends much of its time in […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) Family: Anatidae By Carrie Chapin, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician The Northern Shoveler is a unique species of dabbling duck found in wetlands across much of the world, including North America, Central America, Europe, parts of Africa, and Asia. Northern Shovelers breed in Alaska, Canada, the northern […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) Family: Accipitridae By Jon Piasecki, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician Northern Harriers are commonly seen gliding low over grassland and marsh habitats throughout most of North America. This species is known to be a year-round resident in parts of the midwestern and western United States. They expand […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) Family: Mimidae By Carrie Chapin, Houston Audubon Conservation Technician The songs and calls of the brown thrasher are some of the most delightful and confusing sounds to be heard in forests and hedgerows. The brown thrasher is a medium-sized, rusty-brown-backed songbird with black streaks on the […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Family: Alceninidae Belted Kingfishers can often be seen foraging along water bodies throughout North America. They are resident in the the continental United States, expanding their range into Canada in the summer to breed. They are also known to winter in Mexico and Central America, where […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus) Family: Parulidae Pine Warblers are yellowish birds with olive backs, whitish bellies, and two prominent white wingbars on gray wings. Adult males are the brightest; females and immatures are more subdued and can even appear gray-brown. No bird is more aptly named: it nests exclusively in […]

Read More

Introducing Shelby Fletcher, Houston Audubon Environmental Educator!

Shelby started working at Houston Audubon this May after being a dedicated volunteer at the Raptor and Education Center. Shelby has a degree in Conservation Biology from LSU and just finished a seasonal naturalist position at Lake Houston Wilderness Park. She worked previously as an Environmental Specialist both in Texas […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) Family: Picidae The Red-bellied Woodpecker’s name is a bit misleading as the red patch on its lower abdomen is difficult to see in the field. This sleek, medium-sized woodpecker has a black-and-white barred back, red nape, and white patches speckled with black on its rump and […]

Read More

Welcome to Scott Jones, Houston Audubon’s New Operations Director!

Please join us in welcoming our new Operations Director, Scott Jones! Scott is a dedicated conservationist with a passion for protecting wildlife and the environment and for working in collaboration with others. He brings with him to Houston Audubon a love for people, enthusiasm for teamwork, and a broad range […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) Family: Polioptilidae The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher is a tiny bird that can be easily identified by its buzz-like ‘pzzz’ call that it makes as it energetically flits about and hovers in treetops, pursuing insects to eat. As its name indicates, its body is of a blue-gray color […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) Family: Laridae The Caspian Tern is the world’s largest tern at up to 2 feet in length and topping out at an impressive 5 foot wingspan, slightly larger than the Royal Tern, which it superficially resembles. Similar to other terns, the Caspian Tern sports a black […]

Read More

Why should I create a Bird-Friendly Space?

By Kathy Sweezey, Bird-Friendly Communities Program Manager Do you want to put your love of birds into action? Whether you have a large yard, school grounds, paved balcony, or no outdoor space at all, you can support birds by joining the Bird-Friendly Spaces Program. This program recognizes individuals who are […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Wood Stork

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) Family: Ciconiidae Wood Storks are large wading birds with long legs, a long curved bill, and a bald head and neck. They are mostly white with black flight feathers. Wood storks tower over most other wading birds standing over 3 feet tall. They often soar high […]

Read More

Purple Martins at Western Academy

by Isaac Block, Teacher, Western Academy It started in the summer of 2014 with an invitation to watch the Purple Martins congregate before their fall migration to South America.  Mary Anne Morris, Houston Audubon’s education director, invited me to attend “Purple Martin Migration Madness” Watch Party at the Fountains Shopping […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) Family: Columbidae Mourning Doves are small gray-brown doves with black spots on the wings and a long, thin tail. In flight they show their long tapered tail with white tips. Mourning Doves get their name from their soft, drawn-out coos which sound like laments. Inexperienced listeners […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Purple Martin

Purple Martin (Progne subis) Family: Hirundinidae Purple Martins are the largest member of the swallow family in North America. Adult males are iridescent, dark blue-purple overall with brown-black wings and tail. Females and immatures have dusky throats, light bellies, and dull purplish-black upperparts. Purple martins have undergone a complete tradition […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) Family: Tyrannidae Eastern Wood-Pewees are a medium-sized grayish flycatcher with long wings and tail, short legs, two wing bars, and a peaked crown giving the head a triangular shape. From the front, you can see the sides of the breast are dusky gray with a lighter […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) Family: Accipitridae Red-tailed Hawks are the most familiar and common large hawk in North America. Like other members of the genus Buteo, they have broad, rounded wings and a short, wide tail. Most Red-tailed Hawks are rich brown above and pale underneath with a streaked belly. […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) Family: Vireonidae The White-eyed Vireo is a migratory songbird common throughout much of the eastern United States. Like other vireos, White-eyed Vireos are relatively stocky birds with a thick, straight, and slightly hooked bill. The White-eyed Vireo has a gray head, a pale throat, yellow flanks, […]

Read More

Why ‘Plastic-Free July’?

By Berri Moffett, Conservation Specialist, Houston Audubon Everyone wants clean water to drink and air to breathe. All of us want natural areas free from trash, rivers and streams to swim in and fish in, and beautiful beaches with turquoise waves. We also enjoy modern conveniences and safe food, medical […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) Family: Cardinalidae Summer Tanagers are medium-sized, chunky songbirds with big bodies and large heads. They have large, thick, blunt-tipped bills. The strawberry-colored male Summer Tanager is the only completely red bird in North America. Adult females have olive-green upperparts and mustard yellow underparts. First spring males […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) Family: Apodidae Chimney Swifts are small, grey-brown birds found in Houston from March to October. They are best identified by their silhouette- slender bodies, round heads, long, narrow, curved wings and short, tapered tails. Their wide bills are so short that they are often hard to […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) Family: Anatidae The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a large duck with a long neck, long legs, and short tail. They have a chestnut breast and black belly with a bright pink bill and legs. Their face is gray and has a broad, white wing stipe that is […]

Read More
Raptor Center Images

Controlling Backgrounds in Nature Photography

By Joe V. Smith You just returned from a successful photo shoot with perfect pictures of your favorite animal. Everything came together–pleasing subject, great light, excellent composition, perfect exposure, sharp focus and no camera blur. But when you look at your images you see a problem you missed in the […]

Read More

Oh no, there’s a peacock on my roof!

By Elaine Ross, Houston Audubon Houstonians are noticing an increase in peafowl in their neighborhoods and have been reaching out to local organizations for information on peacocks and peahens. Seeing a bright blue and green peafowl can be a surprising sight on your roof, but they are a familiar neighbor […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) Family: Tyrannidae The Eastern Kingbird is a broad shouldered and big-headed songbird with black head, white underparts and black tail with a white tip. This bird belongs to the one of the oldest and most diverse families of birds, the tyrant flycatchers. Eastern Kingbirds, like many […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) Family: Parulidae The Black-and-white Warbler is a medium-sized warbler with a long, slightly downcurved bill. They are boldly striped in black and white and their black wings have two wide, white wing bars. The males of this species have more pronounced black streaking on their underparts […]

Read More

Join in on the Fun and Help Spread the Word

What Folks are Saying about the New Houston Audubon Conservation License Plate Houston Audubon launched its first-ever conservation license plate sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in June 2021. Since that time, people are proudly displaying their support by ordering plates and placing them on their vehicles. The […]

Read More

Welcome to Kelsey Biles, Houston Audubon’s New Conservation Director!

Please join us in welcoming our new Conservation Director, Kelsey Biles! Kelsey is an avian ecologist with a passion for conservation and public outreach. In her previous years of conservation research, she has led research teams and mentored undergraduate students in deepening their hands-on experience of bird conservation. She frequently […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla) Family: Parulidae By Ryan McGinty, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon The Nashville Warbler is a small bird with a yellow underside, olive back, and gray head. They also have a white eye-ring and a little spot of chestnut on their crown, although this is often not visible. […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Swainson’s Warbler

Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) Family: Parulidae By Ryan McGinty, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon What one might think of as a boring, brown warbler, the Swainson’s Warbler is a unique bird with many interesting behaviors. Ranging from olive to chestnut, these birds have a dark back, cap, and eyeline to contrast […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – American Golden-Plover

American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica) Family: Charadriidae By Averi Lohman, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon The American Golden-Plover is a very unassuming bird this time of year. Its plumage is a brown-gray color with some darker brown spots and gray ‘armpits’ on the underside of its wings. When it arrives at its […]

Read More

How the Bird-Friendly Spaces Program took flight

By Taylor Rhoades, Houston Audubon Young Professionals Advisory Council 2019-2021 In 2018, Houston Audubon joined forces with the Houston Zoo to learn more about what Houstonians are doing to help native and migratory bird species at home and pinpoint the top behaviors that individuals can take to have the largest […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) Family: Parulidae By Ryan McGinty, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon The Louisiana Waterthrush is a large brown warbler with a large bill, long legs, and a short tail. They have a white underside with brown streaking, and a white supercilium that contrasts with the bird’s dark brown […]

Read More

Welcome to Gabriel Durham, Houston Audubon’s Volunteer Manager!

Please join us in welcoming our newest team member, Gabriel Durham! Before Houston Audubon, Gabriel grew up on the road with musician parents. This took him all over the U.S. and he birded out the truck window and in campsites to pass the time. This cultivated a lifelong passion for […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Mallard

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Family: Anatidae By Averi Lohman, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon Probably the most generic species of duck is the Mallard, the biggest symbol of waterfowl in most of the US. Males are known for their striking green heads, bright yellow bills, and grey bodies. Females possess a more […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – American Woodcock

American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) Family: Scolopacidae By Wyatt Egelhoff, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon Unlike most other North American shorebirds, the American Woodcock is most often found in deciduous or mixed forest/woodlots. This species is often nocturnal, roosting on the ground amongst leaf litter where they are usually incredibly difficult to […]

Read More

Welcome to Elaine Ross, Houston Audubon’s Operations Administrator!

We’re excited to introduce you to one of our newest team members, Elaine Ross! Elaine grew up in Southwest Houston and fostered her love for nature in the protected areas on the Gulf Coast. She double-majored in Poultry Science and Wildlife and Fisheries at Texas A&M University. She has worked […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Great Egret

Great Egret (Ardea Alda) Family: Ardeidae By Ryan McGinty, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon The Great Egret is a tall white bird with long black legs, a long S-shaped neck, and a sharp yellow bill. Its diet consists of fish and other aquatic animals that it hunts by wading in shallow […]

Read More

In Memoriam – A Tribute to our Feathered Friends

By Mary Anne Weber, Education Director, Houston Audubon 2021 was a tough year for many people. Here at Houston Audubon, we kept focused on bird conservation and education as we have for over 50 years. Working with live animals is both rewarding and difficult, especially when they enter their senior […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Purple Finch

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) Family: Fringillidae By Averi Lohman, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon While not nearly as widespread as their relative the house finch, purple finches are a beautiful blip of pinkish red that occasionally visit our area and other parts of northeast Texas in the winter. These small birds […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Winter Wren

Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) Family: Troglodytidae By Ryan McGinty, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon The Winter Wren is a small dark brown bird with extensive barring on its flight feathers and belly. It has a tan supercilium and its underside is a paler brown than its back. The Winter Wren is […]

Read More

Beak of the Week – Dusky-capped Flycatcher

Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer) Family: Tyrannidae By Wyatt Egelhoff, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon While not typically encountered in Texas away from the Chisos or Davis mountains in the summer or (irregularly) the Lower Rio Grande Valley in winter, a Dusky-capped Flycatcher was discovered at Houston Audubon’s Smith Oaks Sanctuary in […]

Read More

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.